UVM says goodbye to ÒspecialÓ seniors

After four years together, the time has come to say goodbye to the six seniors of the UVM menÕs basketball team.

ÒIt really has been amazing. To have a senior class like this one is a truly rare event and I am just happy I had the opportunity to be a part of it,Ó senior forward Clancy Rugg said.

Seniors Brian Voelkel, Luke Apfeld, Sandro Carissimo, Josh Elbaum and Rugg have been playing together since they arrived at UVM for the 2010 season.

Though Apfeld sat out as a redshirt first-year.

Senior Candon Rusin, transferred to UVM in 2011, joining the strong group of teammates and friends that have been linked both on and off the court.

ÒHaving six of us on the team, being so close throughout the years, has definitely helped the team dynamic of playing for each other on the court and having each otherÕs backs,Ó Elbaum said.

This bond was visible when Voelkel gave up his starting position for the teamÕs senior night so that Elbaum would be able to have the start Feb. 27.

This was the only game that Voelkel did not start since his first year at UVM.

ÒIt was a great feeling to start on senior night and I have Brian to thank for that,Ó Elbaum said.

Fans across campus said they will miss this Òcore class.Ó

ÒItÕs sad it see them leave,Ó junior Jason Paul said. ÒIt was a lot of fun to watching guys that I see all the time play well against nationally ranked teams like Duke.Ó

One word to sum up this senior class is Òspecial,Ó head coach John Becker said.

ÒItÕs unusual to have such a large graduating class, but I think itÕs what has made the team so special,Ó Elbaum said.

When asked what he will take with him from this experience Apfeld said, Òsense of family.Ó

ÒWhen kids come on visits, or when players from other teams spend time with us, they are baffled at the amount of time we spend together,Ó he said.

ÒWe genuinely like each other and we look at each other as family,Ó Apfeld said.

Since their 2010 23-9 season, the group has held similar statistics each season with a 2011 record of 24-12, a 2012 record of 21-12 and a final season record of 22-11, according to UVM athletics.

This year UVM lost to Albany in the America East Championship semifinals March 9.